Losing your car keys is a complete nuisance, but it happens. In fact, in 2013 a survey showed that 26% of drivers lost their keys either by misplacing them or being stolen, so as much of a hassle as it is, you’re not alone. The best thing to do, (second to not losing them in the first place) is to be prepared because it can be costly. It’s not just expensive to replace the key, but also if you don’t it will have a big effect on the re-sale value of your car. If you sell your car with only one set of keys rather than 2, you could lose out on a lot of money. So, how can you avoid the strain on your wallet when you’ve lost your car key?
You can claim for the loss of car keys no matter how they’ve gone missing, whether you’ve misplaced them or they’ve been stolen. Some insurers automatically include this in their policies, whereas others offer the service at an extra cost, so be sure to read up on your policy to check if you are covered for a replacement set. However, sometimes you may need to pay an excess and your claim could affect your no claims bonus making next year’s premium more expensive, which effectively could make this option more expensive than paying for a car key replacement in the long run.
There are policies out there that are specific to the loss of car keys. This is an additional policy to have on top of your main car insurance, but the cost of this would be far smaller than paying to replace a set out of your own pocket. It also won’t affect your no claims bonus on your car insurance if you do need to claim which could save you even more money. Some key cover policies offer extra perks, for example, it could include car hire. The chance of you being unable to drive your car if you’ve lost your keys are pretty high, particularly if you don’t have a spare set, so car hire is sometimes an attractive bonus to have in an emergency. Alternatively, if you have lost your car key while you’re out and about and you do have a spare at home, they can arrange a taxi to take you home to pick up your other key.
If you are signed up to breakdown cover and you have locked yourself out of your car with your keys inside then most services will help you gain entry to the vehicle no extra cost. If they can’t open the door, they may have to call out a locksmith or take you home to retrieve your spare set of keys at a possible extra cost. Having a breakdown service is ideal when you get stuck in a tricky situation, however, it is also beneficial to learn a few basic mechanical fixes, for example, how to change a tyre.
If you aren’t stranded and you still have your spare key, you could head to a specialist key cutter to replace the one you’ve lost. It may be more expensive than getting a door key cut and you won’t receive the remote locking system, but it will be far cheaper than to pay for a new one from the manufacturer. If you chose this option, you will need to provide your vehicle registration document (V5) and your driving licence to prove you own the car.
The last resort, and most costly, would be to contact the manufacturer and ask them to send you a new key. Due to the extent of technical detail and programming that would go into creating a key specific to your car with a remote locking system, this will make quite a big dent into your wallet. For example, if you have a Ford Fiesta it could cost you £261.70 to replace your key. Or, if you have a Nissan Qashqai it could cost you £242.07.